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Chinese dissident Hu Jia released from jail
Beijing, Jun 26 (Agencies):
Published on 26 Jun. 2011 10:15 PM IST
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One of China’s most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, has been reunited with his family early after serving three-and-a-half-years in jail on subversion charges.
Mr Hu was convicted in 2008 for “inciting subversion of state power” for criticising human rights restrictions in China, and was seen by some supporters as a potential recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize before it went to another jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, last year.
“He is back home with his parents and me,” his wife, Zeng Jinyan, said in a brief telephone interview on Sunday.
“I don’t know if he can speak later. At the moment, I want everything to be peaceful. I’m worried that doing interviews at this stage might cause problems. Please understand.”
Hu Jia’s long-scheduled release followed this week’s abrupt freeing from detention of the prominent artist and activist Ai Weiwei, and has come while Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is visiting Europe on trips to Hungary, Britain and Germany.
China’s Communist Party has cracked down on dissent since February, responding to fears that uprisings across the Arab world could also inspire challenges to its one-party rule, especially ahead of a leadership succession late in 2012.
Many dissidents detained in that drive have been ordered by authorities to stay silent after their release. Mr Hu’s wife and other advocates have voiced concern that Chinese authorities might also impose restrictions on him amounting to house arrest after his formal release.
Ms Zeng, a prominent activist in her own right, said in late May that she was worried by the trend of rights activists coming under informal house arrest after their release from formal detention or jail.
“When I see this, I’m worried, very worried, that when Hu Jia gets out something bad will happen,” she said.
Before he was jailed, Mr Hu, 37, pursued an energetic career as an environmental protection campaigner, advocate for rural victims of AIDS, and vocal critic of China’s restrictions on political dissent. Shaven-headed and wearing bookish spectacles, he was a familiar sight at activist gatherings in Beijing.
Mr Hu is also a Buddhist who has criticised China’s controls on that religion in Tibet and voiced sympathy for the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader reviled by Beijing.

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